Hey Travel Family,
It has been an incredible week and I have so much to catch you up on! Last we spoke, Matt and I were getting ready to start our amazing trip with Singapore Airlines. On Saturday morning, we woke up early, drove to the airport and spent a little time in the SilverKris Lounge before boarding.
On the way to Singapore, we had our first experience in Premium Economy. You guys, it was fantastic! There were around 24 seats in the Premium Economy section with a 2, 4, 2 seat formation so right away, there were fewer people and more space. The seats have more room to spread out, including more legroom, a bigger tv screen, more places to stash your stuff and recline really nicely. For a day flight like Brisbane to Singapore, it was absolutely perfect! The flight went really fast and before we knew it, we were touching down in Singapore.
We collected our Singapore Explorer passes and walked the short distance to Terminal 3, to check into our room at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. The rooms here are fantastic, perfect for anyone with a layover or a few days to spend in Singapore who still wants to be close to the airport. Our room was super spacious and very, very comfortable with a big bed, great wifi and a huge bathroom. That evening, we headed down to the Club Lounge to meet up with the rest of the #SquadSQ for cocktail hour.
I know Nicola from Polkadot Passport and Luke from Backstreet Nomad but it was our first time meeting Phoebe and Chris from The Curious Collective. We all clicked immediately and had the best time talking about the places we are each visiting, swapping travel tips and laughing.
The next morning, we woke up and had a delicious breakfast in the Club Lounge then headed out to catch the MRT into town. With only one day to spend in Singapore, we decided to go to one of our favourite places in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay. It’s so beautiful, we knew we’d be able to get some great photos and video. We spent a few hours wandering through the different gardens then caught the MRT to Clark Quay where climbed aboard a Singapore River Cruise boat, ending up at Marina Bay. We caught the MRT back to the hotel, grabbed dinner and packed up our bags in preparation for our flight to Cape Town.
At about 11pm we left the hotel and checked-in for our flight! Then, we made our way to the SilverKris Business Class Lounge followed by a quick stop at the First Class Lounge too, just for good measure. We boarded our flight in the early hours of Monday morning, taking off at around 2am.
Singapore Airlines absolutely hooked us up with Business Class seats so we had no trouble getting comfortable and straight to sleep! The seats are absolutely huge with so much space and leg room as well as lots of spots to store your carry-on essentials. I got into my pyjamas shortly after take-off, had a nice warm cup of tea then got cosy in the flatbed and went straight to sleep. The lovely flight attendants woke us up with a couple of hours of the flight left so we could enjoy our Book The Cook breakfast of waffles, whipped cream and strawberry coulis.
After a brief refuelling stop in Johannesburg, we touched down in Cape Town where we were met by our guide, Warren. We kicked things off with a coffee at Truth followed by a driving tour of Cape Town and Warren shared loads of information on the area as well as the history and culture. We drove through the brightly coloured streets of Bo-Kaap then grabbed a delicious lunch at The Bungalow, right on the waterfront. With full bellies, we hopped back in the car and headed to Signal Hill for great views of the area followed by a quick stop at The Alfred & Victoria Waterfront.
Then, we checked into our gorgeous hotel, The Tree House Boutique Hotel. With only 14 rooms, it had more of an intimate feel and we immediately fell in love with the modern design! The room was absolutely stunning, offering gorgeous views of Cape Town, lots of space for us to spread out, a really comfortable bed and great size bathroom. The exposed brick, polished concrete and textural elements dotted throughout made it warm, inviting and the perfect place for us to get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning we enjoyed one of the best breakfasts of the year at the hotel (seriously, it was so good!) then met Warren again. We drove to Boulders Beach where we spent some time meeting the gorgeous little African penguins who call the area home, snapping photos and trying to capture the beautiful coastline with our cameras. Then, we drove to Franschhoek, an area known for its amazing food and great wine farms. We climbed aboard the Wine Tram (yep, they have a Wine Tram!) and visited two gorgeous spots; Grande Provence and Rickety Bridge. After a few tastings and even a hummus and wine pairing, Warren picked us up and took us to lunch at Col’Cacchio for pasta and wood-fired pizza.
As we drove back to Cape Town, the sun came out and we asked Warren to take us back up to Signal Hill to watch the sunset. It was the perfect way to end the day. For dinner, we headed to Asoko, a spot serving fantastic tapas. Warren insisted we tried a local dessert favourite, Malva Cake. It was so good! The flavour and texture reminded me of a Sticky Date Pudding, one of my favourite desserts.
It was overcast and rainy during our visit, which made it a little tricky to get great photos and video but the area is drought-stricken and desperately in need of water so it was a good thing it rained while we were there. Nonetheless, we still got so many great shots! We weren’t quite sure what to expect from Cape Town but we fell head over heels in love with it. The people are so lovely, warm, welcoming and friendly, the food is incredible and the landscape is stunning. We visited so many spots that took our breath away and learned a lot about South Africa’s history and culture. It was fantastic and, despite what you may hear from stories or the media, it was very safe. There was never a moment where we felt even remotely unsafe.
We said goodbye to Cape Town and boarded our flight to Skukuza, where we were met by our guide, Morné. Our first few minutes in Kruger National Park were off to a great start when we started spotting animals on the short drive to the resort. Matt and I were both beside ourselves with excitement and arriving at Lion Sands Game Reserve only sought to pump up our excitement levels. It is straight out of your African safari fantasies!
Upon stepping out of the Land Rover we were met by Johnathan with warm towels and whisked through to the bar for a welcome drink and check-in. Johnathan introduced us to our butler, Eurence, and the chef, Karnan, who asked us about our dietary requirements. Then, Eurence, took us to the restaurant for lunch, where we chose food from personalised menus. The food was absolutely fantastic – so fresh, bursting with flavour but still nice and light.
Then, Johnathan walked us to our villa. We were both gobsmacked as we walked through the doors and saw just how stunning the room looked. Open, spacious and bright it oozes safari vibes with neutral tones, soft fabrics and textural elements dotted around. With a verandah and private pool as well as lots of glass everywhere, it’s the perfect spot to relax and spot wildlife. Right away, we could see giraffes wandering across the way and loads of little four-legged herbivore friends nibbling on leaves nearby.
After freshening up quickly, we met Morné for afternoon tea before heading down to the Land Rovers where we got to meet our tracker, Rector. Having been here for over 14 years, Rector has an incredible ability to spot wildlife and signs of where they have been. His knowledge of the area, combined with Morné’s is amazing and, right from the get-go, we learning about the local area and the animals that call it home.
Our first game drive was unforgettable! We saw so many incredible animals, including the most beautiful male leopard, a lioness and two hyenas – I was shocked at how close we were able to get to them without disturbing them, interrupting their natural movements or interfering with them in any way. We also got to spot monkeys, warthogs, beautiful birds, impala and many more gorgeous safari friends. It was the most magical experience, we both spent the whole time smiling with joy.
The park is unfenced so the animals have the freedom to wander wherever they choose, which includes the resort grounds. As Johnathan explained, it’s important we don’t go outside on our own when it’s dark because this is when some of the bigger creatures of the area might come to visit, including lions and leopards. So, we had someone escort us back to the room after a delicious dinner.
After getting a great night’s sleep in our stunning villa, we woke up bright and early the next morning at around 4:30am to get ready for our first-morning game drive. We met with Morné and Rector around 5:30am, grabbed a coffee and headed out, with Lion Sands own social media expert Charlotte along for the ride too.
It was another incredible experience as we visited the beautiful leopard from the day before, followed by the chance to get up close with huge elephants. Next, we spotted birds and said hello to a few male buffalo. We got some great photos of giraffes and zebras then made a beeline for a spot where cheetahs had been sighted. As Morné explained, sightings are extremely rare and both he and Charlotte had only seen them once before. Lucky for us, they were happy to be seen and we managed to catch up with all three of the stunning cats.
Words can’t quite describe how it feels to be so close to such beautiful animals of all shapes and sizes. The safari experience is unlike anything else and they’re doing it perfectly at Lion Sands. You get the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the animals in their natural habitat without disrupting them.
It has been a very busy start to the trip, we’ve done so much in such a short amount of time and have loved every moment of it already. If you want to see more of what we’ve been up to, I’ve saved all my Insta-stories to my Instagram highlights here. So, be sure to watch those to see every step of the journey.
This afternoon we’re headed out for our last afternoon game drive with the hopes of spotting Rhino and Hippo and tomorrow morning we’ll squeeze in one last morning game drive before heading to the airport to fly to Johannesburg. Then, we’ll be flying onto Seoul in a couple of days! So much more to come!
Have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you next Friday with a Seoul update.
Love you, Phoebe x
Watch the brand new video up on our YouTube channel this week!
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.